KitchenTown champions innovation in all its forms to drive positive change in our food system from the ground up.
We play a critical role in the development, commercialization, and launch of impact driven and transformational food products.
We are actively building a global community of food entrepreneurs and innovators to support each other and create a new sustainable food system.
Founder & CEO
Rusty is a lifelong entrepreneur. With an extensive background in building companies, he understands the variables involved in startups. In 2014, he founded KitchenTown to help food entrepreneurs ideate, create and grow their business in the smartest way possible. He advocates for founders, cultivates relationships, and fosters partnerships that strengthen and inspire innovation for the next generation of food startups. Feed him kale, croissants, or crickets. He’s game.
Director of Strategy
Sarah is a researcher, strategist, foresight practitioner and designer with almost a decade of experience working across the global food and agriculture industry. She formerly led the Food Futures Lab at Institute for the Future. She’s a dynamic facilitator and trusted advisor who loves supporting food changemakers to make sense of emerging trends and build more resilient, equitable, and humane food systems. You can also find her rock climbing, experimenting with new ways to cook vegetables, and doing elaborate craft projects.
Director of Product Development
Isha has a lifelong background in food science, including a special expertise in alternative protein and novel ingredients. Prior to KitchenTown she was at Beyond Meat and a senior food scientist at Clara Foods, and she loves the entire development process: from benchtop to prototyping to commercial trials to seeing the product on shelves. Isha is a research-driven scientist who loves being at the forefront of innovation.
Eric has worked in restaurants since he was 15 years old and received his culinary and nutrition education from Johnson & Wales. He has worked for some of the most respected chefs in the bay area including Traci des Jardins and Micheal Mina. Eric is the Executive Chef at The Commissary, in San Francisco. Previously, he worked at the Michelin starred restaurant Madera in Menlo Park. Eric resides in Oakland where you can find him training in Jiu Jitsu and gardening.
Marketing and Communications
Brandi is a passionate marketer with a flair for brand storytelling, the consumer experience, and enjoys a keen sense of burgeoning trends. Her range of experience spans a multitude of industries including wine & spirits, cannabis, action sports, personal care, and tech. Brandi shines in the art of wordsmithing and crafting digestible language that reaches and resonates with relevant audiences. In her spare time, Brandi fancies herself an epicurean who enjoys process driven recipes, home gardening and travel.
Director of Operations
Tom is a seasoned food industry professional with over ten year of experience in the manufacturing and operational sectors focusing on standards, practices, and equipment management. A PCQI (Preventive Controls Qualified Individual), an SQF Practitioner and a ServSafe Instructor and Proctor, Tom oversees the KitchenTown facility and operations. Tom’s diverse background includes a BS in Finance and later ran a USDA Cook Chill facility. An avid outdoor enthusiast and skateboarder, Tom also enjoys learning about science, macroeconomics and geopolitics.
Michelle is a highly skilled food scientist with a history of working in the food and beverage industry. Before her start at KitchenTown, Michelle worked at Bolthouse Farms in R&D and at Kraft Heinz Company in quality control. She is skilled in product development and commercialization. Michelle loves seeing products come to life from ideation to product launch. Outside of work, Michelle enjoys hiking, indoor cycling and travel.
Ibrahim is a food scientist with a strong background in product development and process engineering. Prior to joining the KitchenTown team, he worked a s a research and technology scientist at Miyoko’s Creamery and earlier in his career as a process engineer and in R&D at Tnuva. Ibrahim holds an undergraduate and graduate degree from Technion – Israel Institute of Technology in biotechnology and food engineering. In his free time, Ibrahim is a technology hound especially when it comes to electronics and gadgets.
Albanie is a collaborator, creator, and maverick. She entered the food industry as a server and caterer, and has since done marketing, content creation, and research. She loves exploring new food trends and is passionate about designing a more sustainable and just food system. When she’s not working, you can find Albanie hiking, boxing, painting, or enjoying the hottest new plant-based meal in town.
Maricruz is a Jane of all trades. She has supported many different functions of a food business including production, product inventory control, customer service, and quality assurance. She owns all administrative duties in the office as well as coordinating the Maker schedule and assuring everyone is operating with the right licenses and certifications. In her spare time, Maricruz is active in a number of soccer leagues and enjoys feeding people delicious food at all hours of the day.
A graduate of Cal Poly SLO’s Food Science undergraduate program, Lauryn in an enthusiastic, open-minded, and passionate Food Technologist. No stranger to the food industry, she spent time working in culinary establishments from bakeries to boba shops to better understand all aspects of the food landscape. Working in Product Development enables her to work towards her goals and aspirations as a Food Scientist while helping launch products into the market. Lauryn enjoys dancing, traveling, and trying new restaurants and recipes in order to satisfy her appetite for learning new things.
Danny is an experienced facilities manager with technical expertise in sanitation. He has worked across a variety of industries, can fix anything, and is the backbone of all of KitchenTown’s facilities. Danny is long-distance cycling enthusiast, you can find Danny cycling around the South Bay after work and on weekends and around the world during his time off. He’s also an avid outdoors person who enjoys hiking being in nature.